Overnight at White Sands

Written on February 18, 2015

Back in October, the Tamarind Adventure Club enjoyed a night of camping at White Sands National Monument. When we arrived in the early afternoon, the sun was high overhead and the heat, reflecting of the dunes, was almost unbearable. The sand however, made out of gypsum, remained cool to the touch, collecting what little moisture the desert has to offer. As the afternoon progressed, we parked at the trailhead for backcountry camping and headed into the dunes. The only means to find our way were a series of red poles placed at the top of the dunes, directing us dune to dune, until we had walked a mile into the sands to designated, numbered camp sites. Sunset and sunrise were magical light shows, and though the photos may seem repetitive, each dune had a unique relation to the sky and the surrounding mountains. It was hard to look away, and equally difficult to capture in images.

whitesands01

whitesands02

whitesands03

whitesands04

whitesands05

whitesands06

whitesands07

whitesands08

whitesands09

whitesands10

whitesands11

whitesands12

whitesands13

whitesands15

The muted color of sunrise caused the sky and the sand to blend together, obliterating the horizon.

whitesands16

whitesands17

whitesands18

whitesands19

whitesands21

whitesands22

whitesands23

whitesands24

whitesands25

whitesands26

Lake Abiquiu

Written on February 17, 2015

For Memorial Day, the Tamarind Adventure Club went swimming at Lake Abiquiu, near Ghost Ranch. The lake is man made, and is one of the few lakes in New Mexico that allows motorized boating. The weather was gorgeous, the lake was calm, and the water was the perfect temperature.

abbiqqu01

abbiqqu02

abbiqqu03

abbiqqu04

abbiqqu05

Hiking the backcountry, BLM style

Written on February 16, 2015

On August 23, the Tamarind Adventure Club enjoyed its very first daring adventure: searching for a trail that I’m still pretty sure doesn’t actually exist, encountering wild horses, hiking into the BLM backcountry on a dirt road followed by a truck with rifles sticking out its window, climbing a gorgeous sandstone mesa in the scorching heat, and then getting the car stuck in the densest, reddest mud for what felt like an entire afternoon. These images document the beauty of that hike, complete with two lovely photogenic pooches.

What you unfortunately can’t see are the beautiful friendships being formed behind the lens.

blmhike01

blmhike02

blmhike03

blmhike02a

blmhike04

blmhike05

blmhike06

blmhike07

blmhike08

blmhike09

blmhike10

blmhike11

blmhike12

blmhike13

blmhike14

blmhike15

blmhike16

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument

Written on February 16, 2015

Back in August, before classes started, I drove down the Salt Missions Trail Scenic Byway through the middle of New Mexico. After six months of traversing the state, this route remains my favorite, and in my opinion, the most beautiful by far.  The Salt Missions Trail leads to the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, a sprawling circuit of three historical ruins 30 miles apart. This was an amazing initial immersion into the history of New Mexico, its first peoples, and their encounters with Spanish Missionaries beginning in the 17th century. That’s a lot of history. The three sites, Quarai, Abo, and Gran Quivira each have their own unique history, stories, peoples and architecture. I cannot recommend this monument enough. On that day in August, I was the only person at each of these monuments. The Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument cemented my love affair with the beautiful state of New Mexico.

Gran Quivira is the most impressive of the three sites; well worth the extra 25 miles it tacks onto your visit (if approaching from the north). I visited this site first, arriving just as the morning sun was becoming hot enough to cause droplets of sweat to bead on my forehead. The adobe and rock used at this site was white, and against the color of sage and blue sky, the short walk up a hill to the ruin was awe inspiring.

salinas01

salinas02

salinas03

salinas04

salinas05

salinas06

salinas07

salinas08

salinas09

salinas10

salinas11

salinas12

salinas13

salinas14

The next site was Abo, and as a Pacific Northwesterner trying to shoot in late summer Southwest sun for the first time, the color is somewhat washed out. Abo was the most brilliant red of the three ruins; truly a site to behold.

salinas15

salinas18

salinas16

salinas17

salinas19

salinas20

salinas21

Quarai is the smallest of the three ruins, and the mission that is most intact. Portions of this site were semi-rebuilt in the 1800s by later settlers in the area.

salinas22

salinas23

salinas24

salinas25

salinas26

salinas27

salinas28

Ozette Loop, Washington Coast, June 20- 21, 2014

Written on December 20, 2014

My final backpacking trip in Washington before I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico was one of my favorites. A nine mile trek, the Ozette Loop trail took us from Lake Ozette through a coastal forest and thickets to some of the wildest coastline in Washington. This hike had it all– sea stacks, bald eagles, whales, seals, and the only petroglyphs found on the Washington coast, the mysterious Wedding Rocks. I hiked with friends Katie and Aaron, two of my fabulous studio assistants. We were so lucky to have beautiful, clear weather; it had rained the previous three days. The popular camping sites – Cape Alava and Sand Point were crowded, but the three mile stretch of beach in between them was desolate and beautiful– my favorite areas of the wild Washington coast.

ozette01

ozette02

ozette03

After three miles hiking to the coast, we finally see a glimpse of Ozette Island, the westernmost point of land in the lower 48 states, located just off Cape Alava, the end of the Pacific Northwest Coastal Trail. It’s part of the Ozette Reservation, and an important ceremonial site for the Makah people. It is also a National Wildlife Refuge.

ozette04

At the cape, surrounded by stacks.

ozette05

Above the cape, on the bluff, sits a small wooded hut, a memorial erected by the Makah to the original inhabitants of the cape, the original Osett people. The memorial is filled with bones– whale and other sea creatures– left by tribal members visiting this place. The official placard reads:

Osett Memorial

From Osett endings have become beginnings
At Osett comes new understandings
Generation to generation
Our people have shared the wealth
From the land and sea
From this site we have gained
Appreciation of the wisdom of our forefathers
From this we have gained new strength

In their honor we dedicate this memorial
This rich culture – our proud heritage
THE MAKAH INDIAN NATION
The five original villages
Osett – Dia’th – Wa’atch – Tsoo-Yess – Ba’adah
Treaty 1855

ozette06

ozette07

ozette08

ozette09

ozette10

ozette11

South of the Cape, we were told that last year, a whale carcass had washed up onto the beach. Sure enough, we found the giant skull of a grey whale, a few ribs and even rotting bands of skin. The skull was immense and utterly beautiful.

ozette12

ozette13

The skull marked the beginning of a wild swath of Washington coastline between Cape Alava and Sand Point, another popular place to camp, three miles down the beach. This area of the coast was not often travelled as the beaches were narrow and the tide could easily force hikers into the thick, trail-less coastline. However, the wedding Rocks, smack dab in between this three mile hike, was my true destination and reason for the trek.

ozette14

ozette15

At an otherwise nondescript rocky outcrop along the coast, there exists a mysterious anomaly in Coastal First People history: petroglyphs. Rock drawings are not a documented piece of area first people’s history or culture. The drawings most notably depict schools of fish and orca. Who made these drawings and why?  Again, this is the only place these images are found on the coast. Truly beautiful.

ozette16

ozette17

ozette18

Further down the beach, we set up camp, made an incredible dinner, had a small fire, and watched a glorious sunset.

ozette19

In the morning, we had a visitor at camp.

ozette20

The tide was way out, so we explored the tidal pools before packing up camp and continuing our trek. I miss these colors.

ozette21

ozette22

ozette23

Fresh coyote tracks on the beach. We had heard their yipping the previous night.

ozette24

Hiking out through the forest, I came across a little alter of leaf people. These leaves littered the trail to and from the coast. I don’t know their significance, but once you knew what to look for, they were everywhere.

ozette25

 

Crater Lake National Park, February 2014

Written on October 10, 2014

Back in February, I went on a multi-day Oregon Adventure with awesome friends Jenna, Erin and Liliana. Our original destination was a popular hot spring but the highlight of the trip was an impromptu visit to Crater Lake. We luckily visited during a gorgeous window of clear weather; the next day, the park was inaccessible for a week due to snowy conditions. The snow was nearly 5′ deep in some areas. It was beautiful and breathtaking. Of course, I had a few Lucha Libre masks which served both as photo props and face warmers in the frigid air. I love these folks.

craterlake01

craterlake02

craterlake03

craterlake04

craterlake05

craterlake06

craterlake07

craterlake08

craterlake09

craterlake10

craterlake11

Astoria and Fort Steven’s State Park

Written on October 6, 2014

Saturday, January 25th was an abnormally warm day. The sun was shining for the first time in what seemed like months, and the temperature reached 60° on the coast. Friend Sarah and I decided to drive to Astoria, Oregon for the day, visiting the Goonies house and Fort Steven’s State Park, the location of the Peter Iredale Shipwreck.

astoria01

astoria02

astoria03

astoria04

astoria05

astoria06

astoria07

astoria08

astoria09

astoria10

astoria11

astoria12

astoria13

astoria14

astoria15